5 Years After Citizens United, We Ask: Whose Government? Whose Voice?

Posted by Jay Riestenberg on January 13, 2015


Next week marks the 5th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic – and historically flawed – Citizens United v. FEC decision that declared special interest groups have a right to spend as much as they wish to influence elections.

The result of Citizens United has opened the floodgates to big money influence in our democracy, giving special interests and the wealthy more control over our government and economy than they’ve enjoyed since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. The controversial decision has effectively silenced the voices of everyday Americans in favor of the needs and wants of special interest groups that can write the biggest campaign check.

Common Cause’s new report, “Whose Government? Whose Voice?,” explores five key issue areas where unfettered political spending and influence has blocked progress on solutions supported by large, bipartisan majorities of Americans: raising the minimum wage, passing universal background checks on gun sales, addressing climate change, solving our student debt crisis, and guaranteeing an open internet.

The report makes the case that we will not begin to solve these problems until we rein in the power of big money in our elections that is stopping progress.

A growing amount of that money has come from elaborately concealed donors, individual and corporate, allowing them to drown out the voices of the rest of us and to block legislation designed to ease the economic burdens facing millions of families, make our kids and our streets safer, stabilize our climate, and protect the free flow of information that is vital to democracy and a 21st century economy.

That leaves the rest of us asking whether government of, by and for the people is a thing of the past, and what we can do to get it back.

Read the new report: Whose Government? Whose Voice?

Issues Highlighted in Whose Government? Whose Voice?


Public Opinion

2014 Special Interest Spending

Minimum Wage

70% favor increasing the federal minimum wage

$68.9 million from the U.S. Chamber, NFIB, National Restaurant Association, and some of America’s largest big-box employers.

Gun Control

90% supported background checks

$31.4 million from the National Rifle Association

Climate Change

65% believe the earth is warming and support new emission limits for power plants

$103.9 million from Energy/Natural Resources interests

Student Debt Crisis

60% support a plan to give students the same interest rates as big banks

$102.3 million from Wall Street banks & financial institutions

Open Internet

More than 80% support regulations that would keep the Internet open to everyone.

$42.8 million from Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics

Tags: Fighting Big Money, Citizens United

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